To The New Beginnings: 2023

Nainital Lake, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan

The new year has already begun, with today being the first working day of 2023.

Times have changed, and the ways to celebrate the New Year has also changed.

During my childhood days, new year eve meant, staying at home with family, lots of yummy food, and the good old Doordarshan.

Since winter season is at it’s peak, we stayed in our cozy homes, wrapped in warm clothes, and watched each and every program of Doordarshan.

Nowadays, no one wants to stay at home. They want to spend this fabulous last week of the year at a beautiful holiday destination, or an organised terrace party, or a community club and so on.

No complaints whatsoever— I have enjoyed it then, and enjoy it now. One must move according to the changing times.

So, we spent our new year eve at Nainital, a beautiful hill station in Uttarakhand state of India.

Nainital is worth visiting, with it’s vast lakes, amazing Mall Road, fascinating restaurants and hotels, and of course the breathtakingly and gorgeous Nature.

Sharing some pictures with the best wishes for a —

Happy, Joyful, and Prosperous New Year 2023 to everyone

🌹🎉🎊🌹

The Himalayan mountains view, Nainital, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan

It’s That Time of The Year

Diwali decorations ©Chitrangadasharan

Enthusiasm and positive vibes all around,

People busy in decorating their homes,

With renewed hopes and dreams,

Glittering with coloured lights,

Decorated streets and markets,

Busy roads and malls,

Distributing happiness with sweets,

Exchanging positivity with each other,

As The countdown for Diwali,

The Festival of Lights, hopes,

And dreams is close and around.

Diwali decorations ©Chitrangadasharan

What’s the Significance of Celebrating Festivals?

Durga Puja Pandal, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan

India is known for celebrating many festivals, all with the same enthusiasm.

One might ask— So many festivals throughout the year?

Yes, it’s true— Besides the big festivals, such as Holi, Diwali, Dussehra and others, each day has some significance, and the fact remains that Indians love to celebrate.

The reason is very simple— To be joyful, to spread happiness, and to celebrate life.

Besides all this, festivals are the best ways to maintain our culture, traditions and rich heritage.

Festivals are an amazing way to have social harmony and brotherhood among the citizens of a country.

It’s perhaps the best way to spread positivity, where people forget all their differences, their personal struggles.

Life is not always easy. There are challenges almost everyday. But, we have to carry on, and win our battles— big or small.

Where do we get the inner strength for all this??

Festivals fills us up with hope and belief, to be strong, to start afresh.

The above picture is from a Durga Puja pandal, as the festival of Navratri and Dussehra is being celebrated throughout the length and breath of India.

The whole community works in coordination with each other, to make the festivals enjoyable for everyone.

It’s all a very pleasant sight to watch people together— and Happy!

Happy Navratri and Happy Dussehra!

©Chitrangadasharan

Durga Puja ©Chitrangadasharan

What is The Significance of ‘Pitri Paksha’

“Akshay Vat”, The Banyan Tree at Gaya, Bihar, India ©Chitrangadasharan

Pitri Paksh or Shradh Paksha is a sixteen day period in the Hindu Calendar, when Hindus pay homage to their Pitrs (ancestors.)

According to the Hindu beliefs and traditions, the Ashwin Krishna Paksha in the Hindu calendar is dedicated to those ancestors, who have left for their heavenly abode.

And, it’s the religious duty of their family— sons, daughters and other close family members , to offer ‘Tarpan’ to the ancestors, so they achieve ‘Moksha’ or Salvation.

Besides ‘Tarpan’, various kinds of ‘daan’ (offerings) is also given, in the form of food, clothes, other essentials, or money.

‘Tarpan’ is performed on the same ‘Tithi’ when the ancestor had passed away, whether it was Krisna Paksha or Shukla Paksha, in any month.

‘Tarpan’ can be performed, by chanting mantras, guided by the pandit (priest) or by self, near river banks, temples, or even at homes.

But, for the final ‘Pind Daan’ there are many religious places assigned for this.

‘Teertha Sthal Gaya’ situated in the state of Bihar, India is considered to be the most revered and auspicious place for ‘Pind daan.’

The above picture is of the ancient and pious Banyan tree at Gaya, which has a deep religious significance.

The mighty Banyan tree is also called, ‘Akshay Vat’, which literally means, which can’t be destroyed.

The devotees believe in tying the sacred red thread, on the vast and widespread branches of the supporting roots, trees, all around the Banyan tree, for the fulfilment of their wishes, and to seek the blessings of the departed elders of the family.

Pitri Paksh ends on ‘Sarv Pitri Amavasya’, and immediately the ‘Matri Paksha’ or ‘Mahalya’ begins, followed by ‘Navratri.’

©Chitrangadasharan

Halwa, Kheer as Prasad: Weekend Treats

Suji Halwa as Prasad, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan
Rice Kheer as Prasad, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan
Picture via Google
Picture via Google

Anyone familiar with the Indian traditions, must be familiar with the significance of Prasad (offerings) in Puja (worshipping.)

Though there can be many food items, fruits, dry fruits etc. which we can offer in pujas, the most common Prasad is Halwa, Kheer and seasonal fruits.

Today is the auspicious day of Shri Jagannath Yatra, and therefore I thought of sharing the Prasad, which I have offered to Lord Jagannath.

Halwa, can be prepared with wheat flour, suji (semolina), Besan (black gram flour), dry fruits Halwa and many more.

Halwa is prepared with pure desi ghee and sugar or jaggery, dry nuts, and other ingredients, with devotion and purity.

Rice Kheer is prepared with rice, milk, dry nuts, cardamom, sugar or jaggery, again with devotion and purity.

After offering to the Lord, the Prasad has a unique divine taste.

My best wishes to everyone for a Blessed Rath Yatra day.

Jai Jagannath 🙏🙏